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To the Editor:
—I have read with interest the reports of Cowgill and his co-workers on their studies of the laxative action of bran. One, on the form of the stool as a criterion of laxation, which appeared in the issue of The Journal for July 22, contains statements and conclusions that are somewhat misleading, and thus the sale of bran rather than health may be promoted.One statement, "Our observations support the more general view... that food residues require from about sixteen to twenty-four hours to traverse the alimentary tract" was based on the "interval between defecations" and is therefore irrelevant to determine the absorption. Again, the statement "we became impressed with... purely subjective criteria of laxation; namely (a) the ease with which defecation takes place, and (b) the presence or absence of a sense of complete emptying" appears misleading. If such criteria have a meaning, the semifluid feces
Burnett FL. THE FORM OF THE FECES. JAMA. 1933;101(9):728. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740340080028
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